Black Magic

blackmagic400x600Title: Black Magic
Author: Megan Derr
Cover Artist: H. M. Burns
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 90,000 words
Rating: 4 out of 5 rating stars

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: This well rounded fantasy with a confused kingdom to save and three pairs of socially assorted lovers combining creates an escapist book equivalent of Saturday afternoon cinema.

When High Paladin Sorin discovers the brutally dismembered body of his cousin Alfrey, a much loved priest in the royal palace, he is left baffled as to who would do so terrible a thing to so good a man. But to find the answer to that question, he must cooperate with one of the highly despised necromancers, men who practice black magic, sleep in graveyards and feed upon souls …

The necromancer Koray, however, is far from what he expected. He is beautiful, stubborn, and possessed of a tongue sharp enough to cut down even the High Paladin himself. Koray is also possessed of a strength like nothing Sorin has ever encountered, and the power of the Goddess herself.

It does not take them long to realize that solving a murder is the easiest challenge they must face, and in order to save a kingdom they must first unravel centuries of lies and misunderstandings.


Black Magic was quite an epic fantasy, very concerned with social prejudice, misjudgement and lost knowledge. The action is set predominantly in a kingdom with an all knowing and hands on deity who made me think of a rather bossy aunt. Her habit of psychically elbowing her chosen ministers in the midriff when they displeased her was somewhat disconcerting. Being more than usually atheist at the moment I found the hints, nods and winks method of imparting divine wisdom a bit irritating.

The kingdom is at a watershed of change, murder, dark deeds and newly discovered old ideas are the catalyst for an exciting reconciliation. At the forefront of these social revolutions is the development of three unexpected relationships, each rather shocking and challenging the status quo, because of the social status of the men involved.

The main relationship is that of Sorin, a white knight figure whose attraction to Koray, a social outsider because of his misunderstood role as necromancer, starts the hierarchical misalliances. This bickering courtship is engaging and I liked Koray with all his understandable prickly insecurities. The other two relationships are both vibrant and distinctive, adding to the strong feelings of comradeship and shared interests that run throughout.

The book’s language is somewhat workmanlike, but the action is exciting enough and the different interactions with the very different assorted couples added a vein of light romance that I enjoyed. The spiritual fantasy world is nicely balanced between the main characters with a symmetry that helped expand the plot rather nicely. Suitably with this complicated braid of characters, there is more than one villain. I found a later discovered instigator of evil to be somewhat underdeveloped for all they did. The story meanders a touch unevenly as things have to be discovered, explained and then complicated before all can resolved, but I thought the physical and historical journeys added good things to the mix.

An enjoyable almost old fashioned type of muscular demon slaying fantasy combined with a touch of interesting social change and the added variety of the three male romances created a good book to escape in.



  • Raine, I recommended the ‘Jewel Bonds’ series and highly recommended the ‘Dance with the Devil’ series 🙂

    If you also like contemporary genre, I would highly recommended ‘The Missing Butterfly’ series and ‘Delivery with a Smile’ series as well.

    • Hey Pete, it’s good I have some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket….you are helping me spend it here. I will check these out, am certainly very interested to see how the contemporary stuff works for her. Thank you very much for your help.

  • Nice review, Raine. This author’s world building always intrigues me. For next reads, try ‘Wick’ followed by ‘Frostwick’.

  • This author is quite good. So far I haven’t come across a book I didn’t like. Black Magic was no exception and I love the cover art!

    Korin was so cute!

    Thanks for the review Raine! Completely agree!

    *goes back to read this book again*

      • Hahaha well… unlike Sirius, I do like the shorts. Not all of them. Some of them have an unfinished air (while still good, so it’s doubly frustrating).

        But I really liked the Wick series followed by Frostwick. Loved the Rapier brothers and the Deceived series. Especially Runaways!

        I already let Wave know I want to review lotsa books by this author! 😉 They are very refreshing!

        • Heh Larissa – I have probably 95 percent of her back list on my kindle so it is safe to say that I really like majority of what she writes too. But yeah I find that some ( key word here is some) of her shorts have no depth and overpriced too. Like her Bestiary short left me very annoyed and thinking why did I pay four dollars for that. I really liked Deceived series too. Raine out of shorter novellas I also enjoyed Kissed me rain but I doubt you will and knowing how much of the brain we share I would have to say no. Jenre gave very high marks to her Lost gods series but I have not read them yet. I also liked her Kidnapped.

        • Thanks Larissa, I think I’ve a better idea of which to try now. The only shorter story writers I that I really can’t resist are Sarah Black and Lucius Parhelion. So I’ll stick with the full lengths.

          I see you are in luck with the blurb list this week! 😀

          • Raine, forget all others and read The Bastard Prince. Just read that one and OMGWTFBBQ! Worth the immediate read!

            Sirius. Yup, agree with you on that part. Some of her shorts are a little overpriced in regards to the story and the plot. However, I was in such a reading slum that even her shorts, as underdeveloped as they were are better than most of the stuff I picked up, so I was willing to pay the price and not too worried about it 😛

            • I am the sucker for her stuff too, but I am starting to be careful with her shorts. Frankly I just wish she would slow down and instead of a tiny bit of something almost produced more of novellas and novels. I read the vast majority of her stuff and a lot of it really loved. Oh meant to ask have you read Lost gods yet? I kept trying to get to it but keep being distracted.

  • I liked a lot of books by this writer – mostly because she just does the bickering so well but also when she puts effort into it her world building is interesting. I liked the couples here a lot and I thought Goddess’ interfering was irritating but also funny . Love Bossy Aunt comparison.

      • Okay, I would definitely read Prisoner. Beware that a lot of her stories are collection of novellas, which are connected by the same characters or just set in the same world. I liked quite a few of those, but just beware. I loved stories about Rapier brothers for example, or Almost there, but those are her early ones.

        Be very very careful about her shorts, especially if she does not set it in the same universe that she worked in earlier. Frustrated the heck out of me – it is like she barely scratched the surface and potential is there, but I was frustrated with several of them.


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